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Deval Patrick: Massachusetts Is a Health-Reform Model

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:44 PM
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Deval Patrick: Massachusetts Is a Health-Reform Model
SEPTEMBER 17, 2009

Massachusetts Is a Health-Reform Model
Our system insures 97% of state residents.

By DEVAL L. PATRICK
WSJ

Our country now faces the best opportunity in decades to provide quality health care for all Americans while containing spiraling costs. My state, Massachusetts, can serve as a model for national reform. The case for country-wide change is clear. The health-care system in America costs us too much for what we get. Rising health-care costs are hurting families working hard to make ends meet and businesses trying to compete and create jobs. Too many people face financial disaster when they get sick because their insurance is inadequate or their coverage is dropped. Other Americans get their primary care during expensive visits to the emergency room because they have no other option. These costs affect all of us; everyone has a stake in health-care reform.

When we in Massachusetts set out to change our system, some were afraid. People almost always fear change, and politicians sometimes seize on that fear to prevent it. But in an act of political courage, a Democratic senator, a Republican governor and a Democratic state legislature formed a broad coalition with health-care providers, medical experts, business and labor leaders and patient advocates to fundamentally reform our system. And we have maintained our coalition as we've moved forward. After many years of widespread dissatisfaction with the old health-care system, we realized that a perfect solution or the status quo were not our only choices.

Because of our reform, over 97% of Massachusetts residents are insuredthe highest rate of coverage of any state in the nation. Our residents now have better access to preventive care in lower cost primary-care settings. Employers have expanded coverage for workers, not retreated as some feared. Families are less likely to be forced into bankruptcy by medical costs. Most importantly, lives have been saved. This is all good news for our residents, as well as for our state's long-term economic prosperity.

Opponents of reform claim that the Massachusetts experiment is too costly. They are wrong. State estimates and independent analysis from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation concur that health-care reform has only added moderate incremental costs to the state budget. As more of our residents have become insured, there has been a decrease in demand for costly emergency-room care. Even in the midst of the current economic downturn, our state budget was balanced.

But the real issue is not the incremental costs of expanding coverage. It's the fact that medical costseven for those who have always had insuranceare rising too fast. Massachusetts is poised to lead the nation in addressing this problem, too. A special state commission has unanimously recommended moving away from the "fee for service" practice that drives up costs and fragments care, and replacing it with an alternative payment strategy designed to reward doctors and hospitals for providing coordinated care that achieves the best health outcomes for patients and lowers costs. As we work to translate this vision into practice, health care in the state will just get better.

(snip)

Mr. Patrick, a Democrat, is the governor of Massachusetts.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104...
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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:49 PM
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1. Oh please----you might want to read this----
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:52 PM
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2. NO, it's a health insurance reform model.
A health care model would look quite different.
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2Design Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:53 PM
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3. no thank you n/t
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Skink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:54 PM
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4. Cali fornia is next. Even Ahnold gets it.
You can't run a state while being exhtorted by UHC.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:42 PM
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5. Remove the for-profit insurance co.s from the mix, and he wouldn't be lying.
Even Mittens said (during the primaries) their mistake was going with Big Insurance instead of state-run, taxpayer funded, self-insurance, a.k.a., Medicare 4 All.

You need to build a bigger wall around your state guv'nor, if you don't want the rest of U.S. to know how much you system is harming the poor, unemployed and under-employed.

People talk.
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Crunchy Frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:38 AM
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6. We should have just elected Romney.
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